The month of April was declared as the Confederate History Month by the Atlanta suburb in March. The city commission had a meeting to address questions, concerns and comments of the people about the announcement.
However, former Griffin City Commissioner Larry Johnson repeatedly used the n-word during his comments directed at a black commissioner, Rodney McCord. Johnson was apparently trying to shed light on history, but all he could do was offend people of color with his racist language.
Johnson introduced himself to the members of the meeting and told them he wasn’t prepared but “what the heck,” it looked like “a good thing to do. Maybe,” he said.
He then looked at McCord and said “When I get through, we still gon’ be friends, if we were friends to start with. ‘Cause I’m not gon’ change.”
“Neither am I, sir,” McCord responded.
Johnson who said McCord was like his son, told him he had changed and gotten better.
The former Griffin City Commissioner reminded the black commissioner that once McCord refused to salute the flag and just because Johnson was wearing a Confederate belt buckle McCord got convinced and started saluting the flag again.
McCord was uncertain about all the occurrences mentioned by Johnson.
Johnson, who happens to be a white man, didn’t stop there and told McCord he even gave him a history lesson when he was growing up. “I told you at that time that there were white folks and there were black folks when I was growing up,” Johnson said. “There was white trash, my family, and there was ni***rtown. I lived next to ni***rtown.”
“You lived next to what town?” asked McCord, who was shocked by the racial slur.
Without hesitating for a minute, Johnson repeated the n-word.
“Ni***rtown, son. I’m telling you that I’ve changed. I’m no longer white trash, and they’re no longer called that,” Johnson said.
It was at this time that McCord objected Johnson’s language. But the commission Chairman Douglas Hollberg stopped and asked him to let Johnson make his point.
“Now, if that’s offensive, I apologize for being offensive,” Johnson said, as McCord continued to express his objections.
“Rodney, I don’t use that word anymore,” Johnson said to McCord directly.
“You just used it right then,” McCord replied.
Hollberg intervened once again, “Mr. McCord, please let him get to the point so we can move on.”
But by this time McCord was frustrated and rightly so. “He can get to his point, but I’m not going to sit here. … Maybe y’all are comfortable with it, I don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and let this man use that type of language. And if nobody else is offended, then I am,” he said.
“Now, if y’all want to clap and think that that’s OK for this gentleman to stand, in 2018, and get here at the board of city commission meeting—2018—the Civil War is over and he is using the n-word not once, not twice—three times! And he just continues to say it with not one word about who it offends,” he continued.
Hollberg asked Johnson to make the rest of his comments without using the n-word.
“My skin is white and my neck is red, and I was born in a Southern bed. Nothing wrong with that. I hope that doesn’t offend anybody,” Johnson said.
He also said that he was an American and “proud of it.” However, the damage had been done and his explanations were not enough for casually throwing racial slurs at a black man.
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